Archive for December, 2011

December 26, 2011

What to buy a Beer Geek: Part 2

I recently posted on what to buy the Beer Geek. Christmas Day has been and gone and that not so subtle hint scored me Melissa Cole’s, Let Me Tell You About Beer. Lou slipped this one in amongst a host of non beer related gifts to add to the burgeoning beer shelf.

I neglected to post in that original post my Birthday gift this year. Beer Craft by William Bostwick and Jessi Rymill. It seems I’ve been talking about it quite a bit as Capt. English, a confirmed geek of beer and beyond got the same for Christmas. For the novice home brewer wanting to brew without powders and premixed tubs it’s definitely worth a mention.

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It’s not just home brewing made easy; it’s home brewing with a cool craft aesthetic. Vintage labels, bottle tops and interviews with Craft luminaries such as John Maier, Brewmaster at Rogue Ales and Stone’s Greg Koch make it a must have.

There’ll be more on home craft brewing in the New Year, as I attempt my first brews.

An unexpected gift from English in recognition of Big J’s birthday and Best Man duties earlier in the year was quite possibly the best and worst bottle opener ever seen. Aidan Moffat’s Little Beer Song plays as the bottle cap completes the circuit. No secret late night opening for me! Though who wouldn’t want to hear the ex Arab Strap frontman serenade the opening of each beer? Of course a bottle opener without a few bottles is pointless. As English bought it from Moffat himself it’s seems fitting that it was also accompanied by a case bought from Evin O’Riordan at The Kernel Brewery.

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December 24, 2011

An Old Fashioned Christmas

It’s here. Christmas Eve. As a kid I’d be close to spontaneous combustion with the sheer excitement. Would Santa bring my He-Man and Battle Cat? Would the Nintendo NES be under the tree in the morning? In my late teens and early twenties Christmas Eve was spent drinking myself to a crushing Christmas Day hangover. Sunglasses at Christmas lunch were commonplace. Now in my 30s it’s about a more refined evening of good friends, log fires, eclectic playlists and enough booze to last until New Year or Boxing Day depending how things work out.

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As Richard Hawley croons…

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It’s time to live the Don Draper fantasy… It’s Old Fashioned time.

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Blended Whisky, a sugar cube, bitters, lemon slice, orange twist and slice is all that’s required over ice and with a cherry for good measure.

For those not quite ready for the hard stuff there’s a selection of local brews. Sharps, St Austell and Skinners are common enough but the finds so far have been the beers of Keltec Brewery and Holsworthy Ales.

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As the bottles pile up it just leaves me to say have a Happy Christmas wherever you are and whatever you’re drinking.

December 22, 2011

Christmas Kill or Cure: The Kimchi Michelada

It’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas. Tree is up, fires are lit and I awake with that fuzzy feeling that I indulged a little too much the night before. Sound familiar? These mornings require more than a hit of caffeine. Restorative hair of the dog is required; a bit of kill or cure with a stiff Bloody Mary perhaps. Tricking yourself that the presence of tomato and a celery stick can excuse a generous slug of vodka. The self deception works for me, getting around the feeling that it’s too early with the knowledge that it’s drinking time somewhere in the world. Even at 8am.

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If vodka with your toast isn’t going to fly then there’s always the Michelada, essentially a beer Bloody Mary. Purists may be whincing at the thought of mixing a beer cocktail but trust me that when done well the Michelada will keep you coming back at any time of the day.

My method is from Ozo Bakery and Bar on the edge of New York’s Chinatown. It’s not any old Michelada, but one that packs a good deal of Kimchi. The bars not so secret ingredient.

It was back in August that Lou and I stopped into Ozo for happy hour. I immediately went with the Lagunitas IPA while Lou deliberated over cocktails. The barman advised that the Michelada was a favourite and as I sceptically sipped my IPA I became more and more intrigued as the theatre of the cocktails construction unfolded. Seeing our interest he talked us through the process. Our own cocktail masterclass for the price of a 2 for 1 round. So here’s what you need.

The Mix:

Tomato juice mix with added Kimchi is preferential. To my knowledge this would have to be your own mix. At Ozo they make it themselves. Alternatively a clam juice mix like Clamato can be pre bought, but won’t quite match the Kimchi punch.

Worcestershire Sauce, 4 shakes.

Lime

Mexican hot sauce. Our chosen sauce is Cholula but experimentation is the key to finding your Michelada.

The Beer:

Mexican light beer. Ozo used Pacifico, but there’s nothing to stop you experimenting with other brands or even styles to add body.

To Serve:

A tall glass, over ice, with crushed sea salt and pepper coating the rim.

So there you have it, a Mexican beer cocktail with a Korean twist, added Worcestershire kick via New York. Truly a world class hangover cure. I’ve not had one this Christmas, but when I do the picture will be attached here. What’s your favoured hair of the dog?

December 14, 2011

What would you do?

It wouldn’t be your usual trip to the flicks. 148 bad to the bone bikers and just two seats free in the middle of the cinema. This was the stunt cooked up by Carlsberg for this campaign. I’ve been reading Hunter S Thompson’s Hells Angels recently and i’m not sure I’d take the seat. What would you do?

December 1, 2011

What to buy a Beer Geek?

As much as we may baulk against the consumerism of Christmas the fact remains that it gives you the warm and fuzzies when you nail your gift choice and you know your offering won’t be regifted or eBayed by New Year.

So what to buy the Beer Geek? A difficult group to buy fir if ever there was one. These are our top picks for the varying stages of geekdom.

Let Me Tell You About Beer by Melissa Cole

A great gift for the novice or confirmed geek alike. Anyone whose even dipped into the world of beer blogging should know Melissa. For those who don’t she’s a writer, beer judge, broadcaster. Basically she’s got the job we all want…. she gets paid to taste, write and talk about beer.

The Oxford Companion of Beer by Garrett Oliver

For the confirmed Beer Geek there’s The Oxford Companion of Beer. Garrett Oliver as editor of this beer tome brings together enough to sate the appetite of most. It covers taste, pairing, brewing processes, common terms and the evolution of brewing. Hell, according to the Oxford University Press, it even talks about ” the social and political implications of sharing a beer”. And if like me you sometimes want to just flick through the pictures it’s even got those. The Beer Geeks perfect reference guide and coffee table book rolled into one, edited by one of the most respected Brewmasters in the industry. What more could you want?

33 Beers Notebook

Designed by beer geeks for beer geeks the 33 Beers notebook will ensure maximum respect from the design savvy Ticker (I’m assured they exist!). This is the gift for those in advanced stages of geekdom. It’s an old school alternative to apps and won’t let you down with a drained battery. At 3.5 inches by 5 inches it’s not going to weigh you down as you traverse pubs and bars the world over. The cover design drew me in but the layout inside is what counts,

You’ll feel naked leaving home without your flavour wheel, and look it even acts as a handy beer mat! Also checkout the 999 Beers blog which this picture was nicked from.

So what are you waiting for. Crack open a beer, get your credit card out and get shopping!And just for those cynics among you, i’ve received no inducements for featuring these great Christmas gifts… just call me Santa.

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